Latest Twist On The Airberlin Collapse: Niki Lauda Buys Back NIKI

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The Airberlin collapse after Etihad withdraw funding last year has certainly had few twists and turns. IAG, the parent of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, had won the bid to purchase NIKI, but Austria had complained that the process was wrongly held in Germany when the HQ of the airlines was in Vienna and the bidding was reopened in mid-January.

NIKI

On the latest bidding round the former owner of NIKI (where the name of the airline also comes from) Niki Lauda won it through his Laudamotion company leaving IAG find another way to crack its way to the Central European aviation market.

Here’s an excerpt from Reuters (access the piece here):

Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda has beaten out British Airways owner IAG and others to make the winning takeover bid for Niki, the airline he founded, Niki’s administrators said on Tuesday.

Lauda’s successful bid scuppers a previously agreed sale of Niki to IAG, which was thrown into doubt this month after two courts ruled that the insolvency proceedings had to move to Austria from Germany.

That paved the way for other interested parties, such as Ryanair and Lauda, to bid for the carrier, which most recently was part of failed airline Air Berlin. Niki’s creditors met on Monday to pick the best bid, and their meeting ran into Tuesday.

And here’s from the German broadcaster DW (access here):

Austrian former racing driver Niki Lauda was chosen to buy the assets of Niki which he founded in 2003, the administrators of the former Air Berlin subsidiary announced Tuesday.

Lauda’s bid was preferred over Anglo-Spanish group IAG/Vueling. It was the third offer the former Formula One champion had made since September.

“At the end of a transparent tender, Lauda came out early in the morning as the best bidder,” administrators said in a joint statement. They had emphasized the need for a swift green light from the authorities in Austria and Germany.

Conclusion

NIKI was originally kept outside of the Airberlin bankruptcy and operated flights. It filed for bankruptcy back in December after Lufthansa withdraw its bid to purchase the airline when the competition authorities signaled that they wouldn’t be willing to green light the deal.

IAG was the winner of the previous bidding process and the plan was to use NIKI planes and crews to launch Vueling out of Vienna.

Let’s hope that the deal is finalized soon and the airline back flying in no time.

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